About 20,000 Mitsubishi Montero SUVs and another 138,000 Toyota vehicles are being recalled due to a dangerous new airbag issue. All of the vehicles have airbags from Takata, the now-defunct manufacturer of previously recalled airbags that were used throughout the automotive industry.
The problem is that the inflator may not have been properly sealed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This could cause either of two dangerous conditions by allowing moisture to enter the airbag components.
One possibility is that the airbag might not inflate with enough force to protect vehicle occupants in the event of a crash. The other possibility is that the airbag might rupture and send metal fragments flying through the vehicle’s interior. Either event could result in serious injuries or even death.
These are not the same faulty airbags
According to Consumer Reports, these recalls of older vehicles are unrelated to the original Takata airbag recalls, which took place between 2002 and 2015. These vehicles’ airbags have what are called “non-azide driver frontal airbag inflators,” or NADI. This type of inflator was used in Mitsubishi Monteros, several Toyota vehicles, and vehicles from Acura, BMW, Audi, Isuzu and Honda.
Recalls have also been issued by BMW, Acura, Honda and Isuzu.
NHTSA says there has been at least one injury and two fatalities related to faulty NADI-style airbags.
Details for Mitsubishi Montero and Toyota recalls
Unfortunately, there are no replacement inflators available at the moment. However, when they become available, the manufacturers will replace the faulty inflators at no charge.
Here are the affected Mitsubishi and Toyota vehicles:
- Mitsubishi Montero SUVs manufactured between 1997 and 1999
- Toyota RAV4 SUVs manufactured between 1997 and 1999
- Toyota RAV4 EVs manufactured between 1997 and 1999
- Toyota Supra couples manufactured between 1997 and 1999
- Toyota Celica couples manufactured between 1997 and 1999
Both companies’ recalls are expected to begin on March 22.
You may wish to check if your vehicle is among those recalled. You can do this by obtaining your 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN). This is located in several places on your vehicle, including inside the driver’s door and at the base of the windshield. Once you have this number, go to NHTSA’s recall VIN lookup tool and find out if your vehicle is affected.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash where the airbag did not seem to inflate properly, or where the airbag seemed to explode, you should discuss your situation with an attorney with experience in product liability law.